Murder in the First Degree
Jury at Buffalo Finds Leon Czolgosz Guilty in Short
ASSASSIN IS OF SOUND MIND.
The Trial Consumed Only Eight Hours and Twenty-Six Minutes—The Prisoner
All Appearances Not Affected by the Fate Which Awaits Him—Was Impossible
to Save the President’s Life.
Buffalo, N. Y. (Special).—“Guilty
of murder in the first degree” was the judgment which Leon F. Czolgosz,
the anarchist murderer of President McKinley, heard pronounced upon
him by Henry W. Wendt, foreman of the Buffalo Supreme Court criminal
jury, at 4.26 o’clock, bringing to an end one of the most notable
murder trials in the annals of the country.
Not so much as by the movement of
an eyelid did Czolgosz indicate the shock with which the words of
the jury’s foreman must have come home to him. His imperturbability
was so dense that many said it showed it was nothing but a mask.
When the verdict had been announced he was assisted to his feet
and led out of the court-room to the jail.
The attorneys for the defense had
been unable to secure experts who would testify that Czolgosz was
insane and this destroyed their last vestige of defense. The fact
that they would put no witnesses on the stand was communicated to
District Attorney Penney and he agreed to call as few witnesses
as possible in order that the day might mark the end of the trial.
The chief importance of the day’s
testimony was the bringing out of an accurate account of the shooting
of President McKinley, as told by sworn witnesses. Light was also
thrown on the assassin’s motives.
Not once did a single witness mention
the name of James Parker, the negro waiter who had been given credit
in some quarters for preventing the assassin from firing a third
shot at Mr. McKinley. According to the testimony, Private Francis
P. O’Brien, an artilleryman of Captain Wisser’s squad, who stood
near the President, is entitled to the credit which has been given
Parker. Others besides O’Brien, including several secret service
men, threw themselves on the assassin, but none mentioned Parker.
The negro was in the crowd near by, but according to the witnesses,
did absolutely nothing that was noteworthy.
The case was given to the jury at
3.51 o’clock. Twenty-eight minutes later the jury sent in word that
it had reached a verdict. At 4.26, as previously stated, the verdict
was formally announced.
Judge White was informed that it was
the desire that the assassin’s right of reserving two days to himself
before sentence was pronounced be not waived.
The court which tried the assassin
was in session a total of 8 hours and 13 minutes. The jury was secured
after 2 hours and 45 minutes. The actual time given to the examination
of witnesses was less than five hours. During the trial not a single
objection was made by the attorneys for either side.
“I am sincerely glad it is over,”
said ex-Judge Lewis, one of Czolgosz’s counsel. “We did the best
we could for the condemned man from a sense of duty to the country.
We were supporting the laws of the country, which decree that every
prisoner must have a fair trial. When we said we thought him to
be insane we spoke the truth. No man could act toward us, his counsel
and helpers, as he has done unless his senses were hampered in some
Ex-Judge Titus, another of the assassin’s
lawyers, said: “The experts who we called are the best in the country,
and yet they failed to find a sufficient derangement in Czolgosz’s
mental faculties for them to go on the witness stand and say so.
We are convinced he is insane.”